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Friday, October 29, 2010

Writing Prompt 10/29/10: Your Vote Counts!

by Amy Robinson

We wrote volumes of amazing stuff last weekend at the Writing Pad High Desert Retreat. It was so much fun that we're already planning our next weekend away! I am relaxed just thinking about it. Please vote on the dates for the next retreat in the comments of this blog. All dates are Friday through Sunday.

Ojai Retreat (or Idyllwild or Solvang--TBD)
Vote: Mar 4-7, Mar 11-13, Mar 18-20 or Mar 25-27, 2011?

Joshua Tree Retreat
Vote: Sept. 30- Oct. 2, Oct. 7-9, Oct. 14-16, or Oct. 21-23, 2011?

Let us know your favorite date(s) in the comments - delicious writing treats like Adel's warm BBQ chicken sammies for lunch await you!
Writing Prompt:
Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when you hear the word "Election." Then, pick one of the items off of your list and write for 10 minutes. Post your story in the comments of this blog. For example, this is what comes to my mind when I think of the word, "election": My arch rival in grade school had the same first name as I did, Amy. When we both ran for class president in the 6th grade, I knew it was the glitter quotient that would decide my fate. So that is what I will write about.

Comment on this blog! What does the word "election" bring up for you? The best mini-story of October/November will win a free class! All comments will receive likes and remembers from Marilyn.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

August/September Writing Prompt Contest Winners

by Amy Robinson

It's getting downright chilly out there. Warm up at Writing Pad with fantastic writing classes and the cozy camaraderie of motivated writers. Our classes are now available at lower prices for Oct. and Nov. Call 323-333-2954 or email to reserve your spot now!

The comment contest for August/September was so close to call, it ended with a 3-way tie. Once again, the level of writing was really high! Great job, everyone! The winners of a free 2.5 hour class at Writing Pad are Victoria Pearson, Mary Lorraine Stewart and Lizzie Vance. Congratulations!

Victoria -When asked about her favorite place to write, Victoria responded: "As a beginning writer I must admit I have yet to develop a favorite place, not to mention time, to write. My favorite place to write is in my head. Thanks to Marilyn and the Writing Pad classes, I am getting better at focusing on getting my thoughts onto paper." How cool that your favorite place to write goes everywhere with you, no bulky overnight bag required!

Our second contest winner, Mary Lorraine, finds her muse in the clouds:Mary Lorraine's favorite place to write: "I love to write on airplanes. Whether furiously typing on my blackberry before the thoughts escape, or scribbling on the back of a SkyMall mag, I seem to get some great ideas up in the sky!" That is the single best use for a SkyMall Catalog that I have ever heard.

Lastly (but not leastly), Lizzie Vance:
When asked about her favorite place to write, Lizzie responded, "My favorite place to write is in my quiet little cubby at home. I love a strong cup of Don Francisco's and some classical Pandora at 5:00am, and I'm off and running!" That sounds like a great way to start the day!

Take a look at Victoria, Lizzie, and Mary Lorraine's fabulous comments (they each posted several great stories/poems) and all of the other terrific entries here. Also, please keep commenting. We LOVE your stories and you could be the winner next month!

Here's the new writing prompt that will start you on your journey to winning a 2.5 hr class in October/November!

Writing Prompt: Overheard Conversations

By Amy Robinson

Writing Pad has plenty of treats in store for you! We have conjured up fab discounts on our October and November workshops. Don't miss our fantastic classes at new, affordable rates. Call 323-333-2954 or email to reserve your spot before it disappears!
  • Acting Out: One Writer, One Act (Thurs p.m., starts Nov. 4)--1 spot left
  • So You Want To Be A Writer (Wed. nights, Fri and Sat. mornings)--2 spots left
  • Finishing School (Wed. nights, Fri and Sat. mornings)--2 spots left
  • Your Name In Print (Sun. a.m., starts Nov. 7)--2 spots leftWriting Prompt: Make a list of five things that you've overheard. Or go eavesdrop in a cafe or a park and open your ears! Pick one of the sentences from your list of five overheard things and write about it for 10 minutes. Be as outrageous as you want. You can write about how that sentence affected you. Then post your results in the comment section of this blog!
Example: During breakfast at Denny's, I overheard a 20-something girl say to her friend "If it hadn't been for that horse, I never would have finished college." That horse must have been a really great teacher!

Comment on this blog! Write about a line of a conversation that you overheard. The best mini-story of October/November will win a free class! All comments will receive likes and remembers from Marilyn.

Monday, October 18, 2010

And the High Desert Retreat Scholarship winner is. . .

by Halie Rosenberg

We recieved so many amazing submissions the High Desert Retreat Scholarship. We wish that we could take everyone who entered to the retreat! The writing was really THAT good! But alas, there can only be one winner of the scholarship to the retreat. And that winner is Joe Dornich and for his piece titled "When You Wish Upon a Star."

Congratulations, Joe! Joe's favorite place to write is in public places - parks, coffee shops, book stores. He says, "The noise and energy of the place keeps me going, plus I use the surrounding people to flesh out characters. The other day I saw a woman with hair the color of falling wheat."

The level of writing was so high for this contest that we decided to offer a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place prize. The winners are:

2nd Place - Soseh Kevorkian. She wins a 2 hr one-on-one consultation with Marilyn and a free class at Writing Pad (1 day, 2 1/2 hr).
3rd Place - Priscilla Leonard wins a free class at Writing Pad (1 day, 2 1/2 hr).
4th Place - Michael Kass is also a winner of a free class at Writing Pad (1 day, 2 1/2 hr).

Thank you again for all your fabulous entries and also to our magnificent panel of judges. We truly hope you'll continue to share your work on The Well Fed Muse. We frequently award free classes to the best stories! And you are all amazing writers!

Now off to pack our bathing suits for the High Desert Retreat!

P.S. We will be doing a literary variety show to feature the wonderful writing from this contest (including some of those who did not place). Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HOW TO CRUSH IT WITH WORDS: Finishing and publishing your book, A conversation with Ernessa T. Carter

By Halie Rosenberg

What are your plans for this Friday night? Takeout and TV? Drinks at a bar? Whatever it is, it won't be as much fun or as informative as if you come down to the Pad. That's right--published author of 32 Candles (and Writing Pad alum) Ernessa T. Carter has agreed to start her weekend with us. On Friday night, Ernessa will teach us all she's learned on her recent literary adventures! Sweet treats will be the literal icing on the cake! BTW, Ernessa got her kick start in a Finishing School class at Writing Pad.

Here are the deets:
Friday, October 15, 2010, 8 p.m.
Cost: $10 (to cover your snacks)
RSVP to (Space is limited)

About Ernessa T. Carter:
Ernessa T. Carter has worked as a music journalist in Pittsburgh and a radio writer for American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest in Hollywood. She runs the blog, Fierce and Nerdy. She’s also a retired L.A. Derby Doll. A graduate of Smith College and Carnegie Mellon University’s MFA program, 32 Candles is her first novel.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Raffle Winners (From The High Desert Retreat Scholarship Fund)

By Marilyn Friedman
WE DID IT! We raised enough money to offer a full scholarship to the retreat through your generous donations, Duchess Willemina Pennington's Soiree Litteraire, the hard work of the Writing Pad staff and volunteers, and our raffle for a 5 week class at Writing Pad in Los Angeles and a 1 day class at Laguna Writers in San Francisco. Yay! Thank you so much for all of your contributions! It takes a village! Now--we have to pick our lucky scholarship recipient. Spread the word about the contest and our fancy judges. Details are here.

Also, Writing Pad has some fantastic, new classes on the schedule. All at lower prices for Oct. and Nov. Call 323-333-2954 to sign up before they are full!

And now, may I have a drum roll please? Our raffle winners as witnessed by the members of the"And You Thought Your Family Was F*&%$# Up" class) are:

Eric Fraser for the 5 week class at Writing Pad! Congratulations, Eric!

When I asked Eric to name his favorite place to write he said, "my favorite place to write on earth (so far) is Kyoto. Kyoto is one of history's charmed cities. It's beauty makes you imagine strange things about it - that magic is possible there, that it was built by Gods, that it still lives and works under their protection."

Wow! That sounds amazing! Maybe we should have the next retreat in Kyoto! See a picture of Eric's Kyoto writing space below. And the winner of the one day class at Laguna Writers is Heather Tuggle! Congratulations, Heather!When I asked Heather to name her favorite place to write she said, "My favorite place to write is Laguna Writers. Being surrounded by all those gifted writers and such positive energy motivates me to produce in a way that's difficult to duplicate when I'm in a café or at home at my desk. What's more, the inspiration and encouragement I get from writing with others propels me to try to write more when I am alone." Fantastic! I second that. Thanks again, everyone for participating in the raffles and for your generous donations.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

High Desert Scholarship Contest/Writing Prompt 10/07/10

by Marilyn Friedman

We raised enough money for the Writing Pad High Desert Retreat Scholarship Fund! Thank you SO much to everyone who donated and volunteered!

Now you are wondering: how will we decide who will be the lucky recipient of a full scholarship ($800 value) to our luxurious retreat on Oct. 22-24? Through a writing contest! All rules and the topic are described below. Are you a broke writer who wants a mini-vacation, a weekend of fantastic classes, delicious food, and focused writing in Joshua Tree? Please apply!Rules
These are the rules you must follow to apply for the scholarship spot. Note: Anyone can respond to this writing prompt and be entered into the Oct./Nov. contest for a free writing class and receive likes and remembers from Marilyn!

1. Post your writing sample in the comments of this blog AND email a copy to NO LATER than Friday morning at 9 a.m., October 15. It should be a maximum of 5 paragraphs (the shorter, the better).

2. Also email proof of current or long-term economic hardship to NO LATER than Friday morning at 9 a.m., October 15. Ex. Unemployment check, bank statements, letter demonstrating that you have been laid off from your job, etc. Feel free to also summarize your situation in a few sentences in the email. Economic hardship could also mean that you can't afford to spend $800 now--we will review everyone's situation on a case by case basis. This will be kept completely confidential.

3. Writing submissions can be in any form (poetry, short story, dialogue, fiction, non-fiction, a rant, etc.) but must apply to the prompt about the economy below.

4. The contest will be judged by the following esteemed writers (see the next blog entry for their bios): Joe Donnelly, Judy Reeves, Ron Koertge, Michael Kramer, and Maggie Malone. The contest winner will be announced by Tuesday, October 19.

Good luck! Please don't be intimidated--apply for this scholarship. I want you to write (for at least 10 minutes). You can do it! :)

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when I say the words, "the economy." Pick one and write for 10 minutes about it. Feel free to write something funny, angry, sad, or whatever feels right. Just have fun with it!

Then post your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog for free likes and remembers from Marilyn. For extra credit (and a chance at the scholarship spot), also email your writing sample and proof of current or long-term economic hardship to, following the instructions above.

Here are some phrases to start your write (these are optional, just to help you get started). Feel free to pick one or none of them. There is no wrong way to do this--just write! :)
"There's nothing glamorous about being a starving artist"
"I'm so broke, I can't pay attention"
"In this economy. . ."
"I'm overdrawn and underpaid"
"Maxed out credit cards and too many shoes"
"I don't own anything, really (OR: Nobody owns anything, really)"

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when I say, "the economy?" Even if you are not applying for the scholarship, comment! You could win a free class at Writing Pad, and all comments will receive likes and remembers from Marilyn!

Meet Our Judges!

By Halie Rosenberg

Contrary to popular belief, Duchess Willemina Pennington will not be judging the entries to this year's High Desert Retreat Scholarship Competition. Instead, we are proud to introduce you to our very esteemed and completely impartial panel of judges. Behold our marvelous panel! They will determine whose writing submission will win the full scholarship to the retreat (cue the music)!

Joe Don
nelly is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. Donnelly was the deputy editor of the L.A. Weekly from 2002 to 2008. Before that, Donnelly was the arts editor of New Times Los Angeles and editor in chief of the seminal Los Angeles pop-culture magazine Bikini. Most recently Donnelly, along with Laurie Ochoa, launched Slake Los Angeles, the bestselling quarterly journal.

Judy Reeves
is a writer, teacher, and writing practice provocateur. Her books include A Writer's Book of Days (10th Anniversary Revised Edition released this fall); Writing Alone, Writing Together; A Creative Writer's Kit and The Writer’s Retreat Kit. Her nonfiction work has appeared in the San Diego Reader and Personal Journaling magazine. Judy teaches creative writing at UCSD Extension and The Ink Spot. She is a co-founder of San Diego Writers, Ink, where she served as Executive Director.

Ron Ko
ertge writes fiction for Young Adults and poetry for everybody. He won multiple ALA awards for YA fiction. He also received the P.E.N. prize for his book Stoner and Spaz, a N.E.A. fellowship for poetry, and his poetry has been included twice in The Best American Poetry. His latest YA is Shakespeare Makes The Playoffs (Candlewick Press). His latest books of poetry are Fever (Red Hen Press) and Indigo (Red Hen Press).

hael Kramer broke into TV as a freelance writer for Nickelodeon's animated series Rugrats. He has written for several animated series, including Disney's Recess, Starship Troopers, and ABC Family's Angela Anaconda, garnering an Emmy nomination in the process. Since then, Michael has written on prime time sitcoms, developed a sitcom pilot for Sony TV, and has been a writer on ABC's Men in Trees. Michael has also written humor essays on dating for He is currently a writer on the CW Network's Life Unexpected.

Maggie Malone is Director of Creative Development at Disney Animation Studios, where she has worked on such films as The Princess and the Frog, Bolt, and the Tinker Bell films. As a Director of Development at Universal, Maggie worked on The Tale of Despereaux and Seabiscuit. She is a graduate of Yale and is currently pursuing an MFA at UCLA's school of Theater, Film, and Television.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Writing Prompt 10/4/10: Games, Games, Games!

By Marilyn Friedman

Writing Pad and Laguna Writers want to offer a full scholarship for one broke writer to go to the High Desert Retreat. Please donate! We are so close to our goal!

We will take any amount, but for $20 or more, you will be entered into the raffle for a five week class series at Writing Pad ($275 value) or a 1 day workshop at Laguna Writers ($150 value)! Raffle tickets can be purchased at $5 each beyond the initial $20 donation. Email with the amount you want to donate.

All donations must be in by this Thursday to participate in the raffle.
Both raffles will take place at Writing Pad in front of our Thursday night class, but you do not need to be present to win.
Also, check out Writing Pad's new classes! We've discounted our prices for October and changed the schedule around a little. Take advantage of these delectable classes at new, affordable rates! Call 323-333-2954 before they are full!

Writing Prompt: Make a list of your five favorite games from childhood. Pick one and write about it for 10 minutes. Make sure to include some sensory detail about that game (smell, taste, sound, touch, sight). Then post your results in the comments of this blog!

Example: One of my favorite games was "Trouble." So I will write for 10 minutes about "Trouble" and the loud popping sound of the Pop-O-Matic that jiggled around the die.

Comment on this blog! Write about a game that you loved as a child. The best mini-story of October/November will win a free class! The Aug./Sept. comment contest winner will be announced soon. All comments will receive likes and remembers from Marilyn.